So, the health care industry, not content with sucking down one dollar in every five
in the U.S. economy, wants to grab a few extra billion?
When you take your car in to be serviced, the law requires that you be given a binding estimate of the costs involved before any work is done, and the mechanic is forbidden to exceed that estimate (within a small margin, like 10%) without getting your permission first. Mechanics who violate that law go to jail. Why do we not have those same kinds of consumer protections in the health care industry?
Pharmaceutical companies routinely charge people in the U.S. more for their products than in other countries, such that a drug which costs $100,000 for a full course of treatment in the U.S. costs only $5,000 in India, or scorpion antivenom that is billed at $40,000 a vial in the U.S. is available for $100 a vial in Mexico. Yet, if you were to go outside the country, buy those drugs, and bring them back to the U.S., you would go to prison, thanks to a law bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry, a blatant infringement on the Doctrine of First Sale (which is that, once you buy something, it is yours to do with as you wish). The Supreme Court recently ruled (Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 568 U.S. ___ (2013), Docket No. 11-697) that this practice was impermissible in the textbook industry. Why, then, should it be permissible in the pharmaceutical industry?
If we were to get rid of all the special exemptions that the health care industry has under law, and force it to abide by the existing law of the land (such as the Sherman, Clayton, and Robinson-Patman Acts), including prison time for health care and insurance executives where applicable, the cost of health care would drop by 80% or more. Most people could then pay cash for their health care needs for about the same as they pay in a deductible today...meaning "health insurance" would no longer be necessary (except for "catastropic care" policies for unforeseen circumstances, which would cost about the same as your car insurance). Some form of Medicare and Medicaid would still be required for the truly less fortunate, but would cost a lot less. Obamacare would no longer be needed and could be trivially repealed. The economy would experience a massive boost because health care would no longer be draining it, and every government budget deficit problem, Federal, state, and local, would be instantly solved. (Leading to secondary effects such as stopping the erosion of your purchasing power because the government keeps "printing money" to fund its deficit spending.)